Quebec reviews campaign financing rules

The Quebec government is preparing to tighten the rules that govern financing of elections and political leadership campaigns.

The Quebec government is preparing to tighten the rules that govern financing of elections and political leadership campaigns.

Claude Béchard, minister for democratic reform, says the government began examining potential changes to the province's rules before controversies over campaign financing arose in the Montreal municipal election this week.

Béchard said he will table legislation later this fall to restrict donations to leadership contenders.

"For example, for all leadership races, we will look at it, to try to see how we might fix it more firmly, to be sure the rules we observe in the public financing of all the parties will be the same for leadership races at each level, municipal and provincial," Béchard told reporters in Quebec City on Tuesday.

Under Quebec law, political donations to parties are capped at $3,000 per person per year.

Corporations and unions are not allowed to give money to political parties.

A prominent Montreal politician resigned from his political party and pulled out of the municipal election  last weekend, after allegations emerged that he accepted a large donation from Tony Accurso, a Montreal construction entrepreneur connected to the city's water-meter scandal.

Benoît Labonté stepped down as opposition leader at Montreal city hall, and pulled out of his campaign for re-election as a city councillor on Sunday, after media reports suggested Accurso gave him $100,000 to boost his campaign.

Accurso was also connected to former executive council president Frank Zampino, who has since left municipal politics. Zampino was lambasted for fraternizing with Accurso during the tender process for Montreal's water-meter contract. One of Accurso's companies is part of a consortium that eventually won the $335 million contract.

The contract has since been suspended.